Reviewed this week
Given that he occasionally performs D&B sets under the Sterngucker alias, we shouldn't be surprised that Stefan Streck's latest Micronaut missive draws influence from the early days of jungle and UK hardcore. The whole EP is something of a retro-futurist treat, if truth be told. Opener "Earlylate", for example, sees him employ both vintage, New Jersey garage style organ chords and house-tempo, jungle style breakbeats, while "OldNew" is a pleasingly saucer-eyed fusion of UKG inspired two-step beats, Inner City style synth stabs and nu-disco electronics. Elsewhere, "Undercover" sounds like pitched-down early liquid funk and "Smallbig" boasts the kind of sweeping melody lines reminiscent of progressive breaks veterans Hybrid in their pomp (whilst being a little rougher round the edges).
Slam City Jams is an upcoming label from Munich, and its third release provides a platform for emerging house music talent. First up is production pair COEO, who are best known for their releases on Toy Tonics. "Never Going Home", their contribution to Volume 1, is an off-beat, slinky electronic groove that features a moody bass and warm, warbling melodies. By contrast, Doppelate's "Four Feet Up The Stairs" is more in keeping with classic deep house, thanks to its gentle keys and reflective composition, while on label owners? Rhode & Brown's "More Drama (Less Hysteria)", the release moves into the warm and squelchy electronic disco the Dutch West Coast. Rounding off this impressive EP is Marco Lazovic's Chicago-influenced "In The Jungle".
HVL has landed on many different labels in recent years, but Rough House Rosie will always be something of a spiritual home for the adventurous deep electro and techno craftsman. Across the Hidden Valley EP he displays a fluid, instinctive approach to composition - "Enslaver" rolls out like a live jam but the detail and control embedded in the track is astounding. "Distom Spook" is charged with nervous acidic energy, while "Lemon Stealer" takes things in a more experimental direction with all manner of snaking synth voices wriggling around a crisp electro beat. "Crow Hill" finishes the EP off with a slow, rolling breakbeat groove and hazy pads for a quintessential wind-down session.
Label-hopping deep house head Urulu (real name Taylor Freels) has come a long way since he made his debut on Amadeus back in 2012. Here he returns to the label for the first time since, bringing with him a quartet of sumptuous, saucer-eyed treats. Freels sets the tone via the soft focus loveliness of ambient-goes-broken beat gem "Limp Lover (Intro)", before diving further into hybrid IDM/dream house pastures on the chiming and sunset-friendly "The Nautilus". His rarely seen electro influences come to the fore on the deep space shuffle of acid-flecked dancefloor soundscape "Armadillo", while "Cold Ravioli" sees him wrap dreamy piano flourishes and rich deep house textures around a snappy breakbeat house groove.
Lone Wolf McQuade and Freezy Freeze (to pick just two of their aliases) reunite for another Monkeyshop saga. Expressive and loaded with contrast, "Ozzyism" thumps with heady abandon. More disco than electro (but still crisp and edgy on the riff), it pounds as hard as Moustache can handle before giving us a much slower rub down with the spacious and mildly acidic "Ambibarb". Rutherfort adds more of a twinkle to the lead track while retaining the full thrust tempo while "Barbara BAM" is a much denser, heavier piece of analogue soul that's almost crunchy in its texture.
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